Mark 3:1-6 NLTse Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. (2) Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus‘ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. (3) Jesus said to the man, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” (4) Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him. (5) He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! (6) At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.
Jesus walked into an already crowded synagogue on the Sabbath. People heard about His preaching and expected to find Him there on Sabbath. As usual, the religious leaders were grouped in the front with the rich and influential people. Poor people were standing in the back. As soon as Jesus walked in with His disciples, he felt a strange pull on His arm. A man with a withered hand reached out to Him. He always kept his hand covered. He didn’t want anyone to see it. Too many people considered it a curse. The pain of living with the hand was enough, he didn’t need the additional weight of self righteous judgment on his shoulders. Without thinking, he put his withered hand out to touch Jesus. No one knows if Jesus felt the deformed hand, or if the Spirit told Him about the man’s desire to be healed. The need was there at that moment, and Jesus was willing to help.
The usual contingency of Pharisees followed close behind Jesus, pressing in even closer so they could watch His every move, hoping to expose Him in anyway they could. The crowded synagogue seemed to be the perfect setting to accomplish their goal. They had an idea of what Jesus was about to do as they watched the scene unfold. Jesus turned to the man, now trying to hide his hand. For a moment the man’s fear of embarrassment gripped him, casting a shadow over his faith. Looking at Jesus’ face quickly eliminated every doubt. Jesus said to the man, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” The man moved to the open isle without hesitation. He knew Jesus could heal him. It seemed like no one else was around them. It seemed as if only himself and Jesus existed. Jesus gazed at the man long enough to see his faith, patients, and confidence. Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.
The man did not hear Jesus questioning His critics. As if reading Jesus’ eyes, he uncovered his hand. Some let out gasps of fear, other of contempt, as if saying, why is a man like this in God’s temple? Jesus looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. The man seemed not to notice as his eyes were focused on Jesus, waiting for His instructions. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!
People began shuffling around to get a better view. Excitement raged through the synagogue as word spread of what Jesus had just done. Jesus performed a single miracle in their synagogue. It seemed everyone was filled with joy as the man raised his hand high in the air — everyone except for the religious leaders. At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.
A lot of people like to speculate on what they think is a secret meaning of the hand, or maybe another detail which may not really exist in this scene. While chasing what they want to find, they really never look at the heart of the matter. That may be because they don’t know how to look for it, or they are too busy to pray about it. Maybe they only want to use this miracle to prove a point on one of their doctrines. Which is another miracle I can see as a new believer. All we need to do is look back a few verses to see how the Author led into this lesson. What did He teach just before this lesson was introduced?
Mark 2:27-28 NLTse Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. (28) So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”
There is no doubt what the lesson is. It needs no additional explanation. God began His book with the explanation. Let’s look back a little further. Way back to the first Sabbath. What did God do just before He rested? What event led into the first Sabbath? The last thing God did was bring Adam his wife, Eve. In a sense the first Sabbath was a wedding gift, along with the world and everything in it. Maybe that is why God hates divorce. Marriage is supposed to be the most important gift God gave man. How does this explain how the Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people? Didn’t God satisfy every need for Adam and Eve before the first Sabbath? What do you think Adam was thinking on his first Sabbath?